clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

High school football: Hunter Wolverines 2018 preview

Note: Hunter finished with a 4-6 overall record in 2017 and was second in Region 2 with a 3-1 record. It lost to American Fork 59-27 in the 6A first round.

Hunter’s 2017 Offensive and Defensive Stats

WEST VALLEY CITY — Tarell Richards doesn’t talk about anything but what’s on the schedule for today.

“What we’ve tried to do is not focus on an overall record,” said the first-year coach, who took over the Hunter High program where he played as a teen. “We’re doing everything we can today to get better. We’re going to control what we can control, and that’s give our best attitude and toughest mindset.”

It’s not the jaw-dropping moments that will help the team achieve success.

“If we can do the little things, like what can I do today to get better? How can I get better? That’s what we can hang our hat on.”

Richards takes over a team with talent, but there are holes to fill and adjustments to make to a new head coach and a new defensive coordinator.

“If you have a team with talent that is working hard, it’s not impossible to have success,” he said. “We’re just interested in controlling what we can control. We had a lot of learning moments last year, and things are good.”

Richard said taking over the Wolverine program has been an education for him.

“It’s humbling,” he said. “It makes me respect even more everybody else who has been doing this for a long time. We all do it because we love the kids.”

Hunter returns some very talented players, starting with his junior quarterback, DaiSean Cash.

“He’s competitive,” the coach said. “He wants to get better, and he shattered every record Hunter had at the quarterback position. He’s a good teammate and a playmaker.”

It helps that some of the experience Hunter returns is on the offensive line and at wide receiver.

Richards said his high school coach Wes Wilcken and the man he worked for and succeeded, Scott Henderson, impacted who he is as a person and a coach.

“Football is so important to us when we’re involved in it,” he said. “When you step back, you realize it’s a three year period out of what is hopefully a 70 to 75-year life. What we do here is much bigger than those 10 weekends in the fall. …You’re making an impact with these kids that extends beyond the field. You’re teaching them how to handle adversity, how to attack each day and just give their best effort. Sometimes we give our bets, and that’s not enough. That’s part of life. Learning how to deal with success and failure is how you become a productive adult.”

Wolverines at a glance

Coach: Tarell Richards begins his first year as a head football coach, after working as an assistant in the program where he played last year. He is an alum of Utah State.

Hunter Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Tarell Richards

2017 offensive production: 29.3 ppg (8thin 6A)

  • 7 returning starters
  • Spread/no huddle

Key offensive returning starters:

Returning offensive starters:

Offensive newcomers to watch:

Richards on returning junior quarterback DaiSean Cash:

“He had an impact as a sophomore year as the starter, shattering nearly all of Hunter’s passing records. He comes from a football family…and he just has the mind for football; he has the mental toughness for it. He has the attitude that he wants to get better. He’s very coachable, and to go along with that, he’s super talented. He’s been a joy to coach.”

Richards on the wide receivers:

“We return a really experienced wide receiver group. We have four guys who had significant time…Four guys who caught a lot of footballs, made a lot of plays. They have the confidence of last year and the off-season under their belt, and that makes them a dangerous group, if they continue to stay focused.”

Richards on Chase Walker:

“He was very explosive and productive in a backup role last season. He will have an increased role and opportunities as a senior.”

Key’s for offensive success in 2018: The Wolverines offense will benefit from having a DaiSean Cash at quarterback, who is both a statistical and emotional leader. The core of talent and experience returning on the offensive line and at wide receiver will make the Hunter offense very difficult to stop. The only question mark will be the team’s ground game, but traditionally, that’s been the program’s foundation.

Wolverines Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Roger Armijo

2017 Defensive production: 31.5 ppg (15thin 6A)

  • 5 returning starters
  • Type of defense: 3-3-5

Key Returning defensive starters:

Defensive returning starters:

Defensive newcomers to watch:

  • Eli Wilson, Sr, DB
  • Loni Tatufu, Jr, DB
  • Lorenzo Tua’one, DL

Richards on defensive coordinator Roger Armijo:

“I have a lot of respect for him. I coached with him in the past at Murray, and he has a real ability to teach the kids. He’s a great teacher of the game. The way he delivers it, the way he breaks it down, and has a process to it, it’s very similar to the way I coach. There are built in answers and solutions to problems. He’s very prepared and very energetic.”

Richards on linebacker Masi (Heamasi) Lutui and Chris Ventura:

“Masi and Chris, they eat and sleep Hunter football. They’re emotional leaders. …And they’ve both had really productive summers.”

Richards on defensive back Dylan Andrew:

“He played a lot as a junior last season. He has had a great off-season, and he’s looking to provide some senior leadership in the secondary.”

Keys for defensive success in 2018: The Wolverine defense has a lot more question marks than the offense. The leadership will come from the team’s linebackers, with the big questions on the secondary. Hunter should have a solid defensive line, with some talented young players stepping up to fill the vacancies left by last year’s seniors.

Coaches preseason Region 2 straw poll: 3

Deseret News Region 2 prediction: 1

Key Region Game: vs. Kearns, Sept. 28

Bottom line: Hunter is among the strongest contenders for a region title because they return experience and talent, and they have a tradition of success. The new coaching staff would normally create more questions about how and if the team will succeed, but Richards is a Hunter alum, and his hard-nosed approach meshes with the mentality that has defined the program.

2018 Schedule

  • Aug. 17 — at Clearfield, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 24 — at Bountiful, 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 31 — PINE VIEW, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 7 — WEST JORDAN, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 14 — at Cyprus, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 21 — GRANGER, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 28 — at Kearns, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 5 — at Bingham, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 12 — HILLCREST, 7 p.m.


Felt's Facts for Hunter High School

All-time record: 179-122 (28 years)

Region championships: 8 (1991 co, 1996 co, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2009 co, 2012, 2014 co)

Playoff appearances: 27

Current playoff appearance streak: 27 (1991-2017)

All-time playoff record: 21-26

State championships: 1 (2003)

State championship record: 1-0

Most played rivalry: 23 meetings with Kearns dating back to 1990. Hunter leads 17-7. Last met in 2012.

Felt’s Factoids: Hunter is one of just seven teams in state history to have a 14-0 record (2003). … Joseph Tiatia rushed for a state record 456 yards, eclipsing the previous mark by five yards, on Oct. 15, 2014.


Last 5

  • 2017 — 4-6 (3-1 in Region 2 - 6A First round)
  • 2016 — 6-7 (3-3 in Region 2 – 5A First round)
  • 2015 — 6-5 (5-1 in Region 2 – 5A First round)
  • 2014 — 6-6 (4-1 in Region 2 – 5A Quarterfinals)
  • 2013 — 6-5 (4-1 in Region 2 – 5A First round)


Hunter coaching history

  • 2018 — Tarell Richards (0-0)
  • 2012-2017 — Scott Henderson (35-32)
  • 2011 — Les Hamilton (3-7)
  • 2008-2010 — Dustin Pearce (19-15)
  • 1999-2007 — Wes Wilcken (67-32)
  • 1994-1998 — John Lambourne (40-15)
  • 1990-1993 — Mike Fraser (18-13)


Deseret News Mr. Football recipients

  • 2003 — Ray Feinga, OL
  • 1998 — David Fiefia, RB

Deseret News First Team All-Staters the past 10 years

  • 2016 — Lorenzo Fauatea, DT
  • 2014 — Joseph Tiatia, RB
  • 2010 — Ului Lapuaho, OL
  • 2009 — Laau Tanuvasa, RB

To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.